QUEZON CITY --- Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government to implement the dismissal order against Mayor Melquiades Gaite of Baao, Camarines Sur.
The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal from the service of Mayor Gaite after he was found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.
Results of the investigation showed that in May 2014, Gaite entered into a 25-year lease contract with Lamvert Consolidated Complex Development Corporation over a portion of the Baao public market building covering 1,704 square meters. Gaite failed to present evidence that the lease deal was made with the prior authorization of the Sangguniang Bayan.
The Ombudsman explained that under the Local Government Code of 1991, “no contract may be entered into by the local chief executive in behalf of the local government unit without prior authorization by the Sanggunian concerned.”
According to Ombudsman Morales, “the act of respondent, a veteran local chief executive with almost two decades of experience, in entering into a contract of lease for a period beyond that in Municipal Ordinance No. 03 amounts to a transgression of some established and definite rule of action more particularly unlawful behaviour or gross negligence by a public officer.”
Under Municipal Ordinance No. 3, the duration of the lease contract should not be more than five years.
Gaite also failed to enforce the provision on “goodwill money” for the lease deal. Under this contractual provision, the “goodwill money” consisting of P25,000.00 for the first 10 square meters and P1,000.00 for every succeeding square meter of the rented space, or P1,719,000.00 must be paid by the applicant-lessee. From this amount, 70% would accrue to the coffers of the municipality as trust fund, to be spent exclusively for the development of the market and its facilities, and the 30% will serve as the lessee’s deposit.
“Clearly, respondent committed a corrupt act that would classify his misconduct as grave,” stated Ombudsman Morales.
In another news report, the municipal mayor was quoted as saying: “I will not resist if the order of the Ombudsman is served upon me by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). However, I would like to let you know that I am left with no other legal recourse but to file a motion for reconsideration (MR) and a petition for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).”
Gaite lamented, however: “I feel very disappointed because you know that I had dedicated almost two decades of my life serving our town. Yet, this sad incident has to happen to me. You may remember that during my first term as mayor, I personally worked for the release of the budget of our municipal market. I know that during that time it was the most felt need of our people. It is with deep regret that this tragic event happened to me.”